Since 1982

When We Die How Long Before We Return?

14 Oct 2019
Conference Hall

When We Die How Long Before We Return?

‘Death’ like everything else in the universe is merely a temporary state of affairs. We slip in and out of incarnation, adopting fresh personalities each time, with the same ease that we move from room to room or change our clothes. We’ve all done it so often you may think we should be used to it by now. This is certainly not the case. Indeed most things about death remain a fearful mystery to us.

There has always been a hot debate within esoteric circles as to exactly how long we are ‘dead’ – or more precisely the length of time we spend between physical lives on Earth (even though ‘time’ doesn’t exist in these inner worlds). There is an infuriatingly diverse range of views of the duration between incarnations but little consensus. Some Buddhists assert that these lives between lives last a mere 49 days. In contrast, other occultists claim it can run into many thousands of years or even an entire ‘kalpa’ or long cycle. Some have spoken of cycles of 600 or 1,200 years. HPB herself put the figure at 1,500 years for the ‘average’ person. But there are countless other contrasting and contradictory views. And many questions: What happens to young children who die? Or the victims or war, accidents and suicides? How do these affect the length of our post mortem experience?

Is our regular retreat to the inner planes constant and unchanging? Or does it vary depending on the particular historical cycle which prevails at any given time? Are there times when certain Egos feel compelled to incarnate or conversely feel repelled from doing so? And to what extent does our own level of spiritual development and maturity affect the equation? The bulk of our time out of physical bodies is spent in the ‘heaven world’ of devachan (land of the gods) for rest, assimilation and recuperation. But for those without finer feelings or any spiritual aspiration whatsoever this ‘place’ has neither existence nor meaning. There would be as much point in going there as a worm visiting an art gallery. It is therefore strictly off the itinerary for spiritual Neanderthals who are destined for a rapid re-birth instead.